Betsy Ross Flag Symbolism – Meaning, History & Things to Know

betsy ross flag symbolism

The flag of the United States you see today was not the flag several ages back. It had to go through different designs and modifications to appear as what it is today. One of the styles was a flag designed by Betsy Ross. We are going to talk about the Betsy Ross Flag symbolism today.

The Betsy Ross flag did not only become popular for its history but also for its symbolism. Here in this article, you will get to know all about Betsy Ross flag symbolism.

betsy ross flag symbolism

The Betsy Ross Flag Symbolism: The Meaning

The meaning of Betsy Ross Flag is very simple. There were 13 stars and stripes in the design and each symbolized a state of the Union during that period.

Although there is no official symbolism for the flag, Washington had his own interpretation: the stars symbolized superiority as they were taken from the sky, the white stripes symbolized the separation from the home country and the red symbolized the British color.

Talking about colors, each of them also carries separate symbolism as stated by the Congress of Confederation in 1782 for the Great Seal of the US. The colors mean:

Red: hardiness and valor.

White: innocence and purity.

Blue: justice, perseverance, and vigilance.

The reason why the stars were in a circle was that it represented unity and equality. Every star signifying every colony would be viewed in same level and that none should be regarded above one another.

History of The Betsy Ross Flag & It’s Symbolism

After the declaration of independence, the Unites States navy painted white stripes on red standards of British Naval. This is how their Grand Union Flag was created.

It was possibly done to distinguish their ships from British ones. They consider it a symbolism of aspirations of the US to be self-governing and American devotion for the Crown.

Afterward, it established the foundation of later flags.

When former US District Judge, Francis Hopkinson was the Navy Board Chairman, he came up with a similar-like design. The probable aim was to use it as naval ensign.

In 1777, the Flag Resolution was passed by Congress notating that the 13 US flag would be 13 stripes, alternate red and white and that the union would be 13 stars where the color white on a blue filed would represent a new constellation.

However, the flag signified neither the arrangement of stars nor state the number of points. Thus, the design of the new resolution meant nothing more than the vague written statement by the Congress.

Subsequently, it triggered flagmakers to come with different designs and arrangements of the stars.

One of the designs that gained popularity was that of Betsy Ross flag that exhibited 13 stars in a circle.

The flag was designed by Betsy Ross who was a Philadelphian upholsterer. She used to design tents and uniforms for Continental forces. She was also one of the skilled flagmakers who was into designing flags for the naval after the passage of the Resolution Flag.

In 1870, William Canby who was the grandson of Ross, presented a paper to the Pennsylvania Historical Society where he stated that his grandmother had manufactured the flag of the US after designing it.

He further said that his aunty told him this 20 years after the death of Ross.

As per Canby, the flag was originally manufactured in June, 1776 when George Ross, Robert Morris and George Washington commissioned Ross to design a new flag for the US. She accepted the offer, replaced the 6-point star with 5-point star and alter the design by the committee. On the basis of Washington’s journey to Philadelphia in 1776, the incident should have taken place a year prior to passing the Flag Act by the Congress.

However, a lot of interpreters have exaggerated the details of the story. And since there is no document to prove all the incidents, the story remains as a fiction.

Things to know about Betsy Ross Flag

There are certain facts and matters related to Betsy Ross flag that you should know as well:

No documented usage of the Betsy Ross configurations was found before 1792.

There is no record found which would prove that there was any committee of the Continental Congress for designing the flag of the US in 1776.

No document was found to prove that Washington and Ross knew one another and that he ever visited her shop.

According to diaries and letters circulated, members of that particular committee did not mention anything regarding 1776 national flag, neither Washington nor George Ross nor Morris.

The flag’s design had to be modified periodically by adding a new stripe or star to symbolize new state added to the union. And every time the design is modified, a new Flag Act is passed to make it official in Independence Day.

A resolution was also passed later in 1818 that specified, the number of stripes had to be reduced to 13 to honor every original colony. Moreover, the number of stripes had to be increased to 20 as well to signify the current number of the states.

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